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Dear Snowboarding: Stop Using the Word Gay as an Insult

Last week, pro skier Gus Kentworthy came out to ESPN. Overall, the response has been great and supportive, Kenworthy told the Wall Street Journal. “I’ve had a ton of people reach out to me, which has been amazing. I’ve had other athletes in my sport, Bobby Brown, Josh Christensen, Tom Wallisch, I’ve had snowboarders..” Unfortunately, one snowboarder, who’s legendary status raises his voice louder than the others, took to twitter with a poorly-worded joke.

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This tweet has brought a firestorm of unwanted attention upon Terje, who just doesn’t seem to understand what the big deal is. “Every time someone shockingly “admits” to be gay he pins under “abnormality.” For me sexuality is insignificant,” Terje went on to tweet after receiving blowback on social media.

Terje is right in some ways – your sexuality doesn’t and shouldn’t matter when it comes to your skiing or snowboarding. But after the triple corking is done, Gus and every other athlete lives in the real world. In the real world homophobia still runs rampant, words and thoughtless jokes hurt, which is one of the things Gus opens up about in the article. Since Terje probably didn’t even read it, here’s the actual excerpt that explains it:

Kenworthy has watched carefully these past few years as the world around him has grown more accepting. Gay marriage is legal now, attitudes are changing. He was excited this spring when Caitlyn Jenner came out. He believes that people are more aware.

“But then at the same time,” he says, “people are literally oblivious.”

For him, there have existed day-to-day reminders. Take, for instance, the former sponsor who made a crude anti-gay remark about why Kenworthy was once late to a competition. Take his physical therapist, who once told Kenworthy that he couldn’t even imagine talking to a gay guy all night. (“I thought, ‘You’ve talked to a gay guy for two hours a day, four days a week for seven months.’ “)

Take the constant drumbeat of living in a culture that uses the words “gay” and “fag” as commonly as “stoked.” A daily check of social media for Kenworthy means encountering posts written by friends or peers who, without knowing it, reveal what they think about his sexuality. Today, it might be a Facebook rant or an Instagram post from a pro snowboarder who’s annoyed that “skier fags” have infiltrated another contest or complaining that a shoddy halfpipe is “gay.” Tomorrow, it might be a tweet written by an athlete he admires who is “sickened” by same-sex marriage.

“There’s a lot of testosterone in our sport, and those derogatory words get thrown around like crazy,” says Canadian freeskier Justin Dorey. “A lot of people don’t think twice about it because those words don’t mean anything to them.”

In 2015, where news travels at the speed of the Internet and you’re constantly inundated with new information, its easy for the non-affected to shrug and say, big fucking deal. But this is a big fucking deal, and it’s time for snowboarding and all action sports to remove homophobic slurs from our lexicon entirely. Terje made himself look like a moron and deserves every bit of media scrutiny he did and will receive. Todd Richards, who had a front row seat for the shitshow thanks to a seemingly out of nowhere mention in the tweet, said the whole situation is a case of stupidity.

“100 percent of comedy is timing, and if you’re going to diss someone in English, at least use spell check. Utmost respect for Gus’s courage in a close-minded world.”

 

Snowboarding in 2015: A Year In Review

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2015 is almost in our rearview mirror and what a year it has been. Canadians elected a snowboarder to run their country. Europe has a major refugee crisis and you can’t breathe the air in China. Terrorism and mass shootings abound. The weather is fucked. No, really fucked. But enough about the real world. What about snowboarding?  Given the seasonal nature of the sport, the end of one calendar year and the start of another happens to fall in the middle of the season. This can make our human desire to recap events a challenge – does anyone even remember last season at this point? But technical difficulties aside, we at Yobeat have scratched our rusty brains and done some google searches to bring you this recap of the MOST RELEVANT and lit things to happen to snowboarding in the past 12 months – and most are a little more uplifting than the real world.

Global Ams Take Over

2015 may go down in history as the year pro snowboarding became a thing of the past, replaced with the much more cost-effective global am program. Sure, there are still a few people raking it in, but these days the real goal is global am status – free travel, free boards and maybe even a spot in a REAL movie. Dare to dream kids, dare to dream.

Quad Corks Are Real

Billy Morgan started the trend, and despite being accused of “killing snowboarding” in various memes, it was a matter of days before Max Parrot joined the party. More recently, Markus Kleveland inserted himself into the quad club, and now that the podium is full, no one else ever has to go upside down four times in one extreme aerial again, right?

Girl Gangs on Attack

Dudes snowboarding will always just be dudes snowboarding. But girls snowboarding? Now that’s something. When the Too Hard crew was featured on Vice in a multi-part series, some groaned, many celebrated, and everyone got a little bit excited. Whether you believe in girl power or not, Full Moon films successfully crowdsourced the shit out of their project, Jetpack and Outta the Kitchen got together to make movie magic, and even Lucas Huffman is working on a feature film about the wild world of women’s snowboarding.

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Burton Blow Out

Where to start with this one. Snowboarding’s industry leader, Burton had quite the year. Jake got sick and those left in charge went a bit buck wild. The cut the Knowbuddy program, collaborated with 30 brands that have NOTHING to do with snowboarding, and despite a colorful letter and passionate response from the public, it seems nothing will derail the strange track the big B is on. Whatever.

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Capita’s Mothership is Alive

Meanwhile, in Austria, the brands that still give a fuck about snowboarding have joined forces to open a state-of-the-art, zero emission snowboard factory with it’s own testing facility and the most advanced snowboard construction abilities in the world. So, snowboarding ain’t dead yet, and doesn’t look like it will be anytime soon.

Bonezone Goes Official

The mean old po-po destroyed the Bonezone a couple years ago, much to the chagrin of those deemed worthy of riding it. But never fear! Ted Borland is a man of the people, and managed to convince Brighton to make it official this year so not only is the Bonezone back but now you – marks and busters can ride it too!

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Homophobia is real.

2015 was a big year for the LGBT community with the US taking the huge step to legalize gay marriage nationwide. In the snowboard community, we generally avoid mention of such topics as not to piss anyone off, but between Jed making out with dudes on Instagram for attention (or whatever) and Terje’s incredibly poor joke in response to skier Gus Kenworthy coming out, board world was not immune to the hype.

Diversity rules!

We’re not just talking about the few Canadians of color (Dillon Ojo, Kody Williams) but this year may go down as the most diverse in snowboarding yet. Enter Mamba, Brolin Mawejje – a snowboarder born in Uganda and his flick – Far From Home, and lest we not forget the Soy Sauce Nation – who are also NOT WHITE, just to name a few of the exciting cultural influences in board world.

Old Dudes.

Don’t call it a come back! Or do, because it kinda is. But sometime in the recent past, snowboard brands said hey, people don’t necessarily quit snowboarding at 30 and maybe those old people (with jobs even) might want some heroes, too. It didn’t pan out so well for TRJJ, but guys like Bryan Iguchi, Jamie Lynn and Chris Roach are back baby!

Team Movies. 

Perhaps not unique to 2015 and rather a reoccuring trend we will report on until the end of eternity, the team movie is alive and well. Brands like them because they own all the assets, and since they’re the ones paying, that’s all that really matters, isn’t it.

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Climate Change got really real.

You may remember hearing whispers about it in the 90s, but this whole “climate change” nonsense bitch slapped us all in the face during 2015. No snow in the West, a ton of snow in the East, and a general uncertainty over the planet’s future were the theme for the season. Then summer came, and well, shit. It was the shortest on record at Whistler and Mt. Hood.

….But, we said this was going to be uplifting – so it’s dumping out West now! Get off the Internet and get some.